How To Fix Scapular Winging (Step-By-Step Guide)

How To Fix Scapular Winging (Step-By-Step Guide)

– So you wanna learn how
to fix scapular winging? Well, in this video, I’m gonna teach you a step by step strategy to
fix this problem permanently. Now make sure you stick around to the end because I’m also gonna
teach you the one big thing that everybody is stuffing up that prevents this from
being fixed permanently. All that and more coming up. We are the gym that teaches people how to move instead of just exercise because we believe that health is about performance not just body image. Hi, in case we haven’t met
my name’s Rad Burmeister, co-founder of the Foundation
Movement System and Unity Gym where you’re taught to nourish and move instead of just diet and exercise and where health is
measured by your performance and the way you feel, not
just by the way you look. So with scapular winging,
what you wanna be focusing on is how to obviously strengthen the muscles that pull the scapula down onto your back and the number one muscle that we wanna be focusing on for that is
called the serratus anterior. But you do need to
understand that it’s not just about strengthening the serratus. Strengthening the muscles
that pulls the scapula down onto your back, it’s about teaching the
central nervous system how to coordinate all of the muscles that are involved in scapular control that create good, scapular movement. So what we’re going to do in this video, we’re gonna go through
a really cool strategy or step by step process, I should say to get you to strengthen those muscles and to strengthen that
neurological connection. So the first two exercises
that we’re gonna do are for strengthening the serratus, so the first exercise we’re gonna do is called a scapular push up. So what you’re gonna do from here is to have your index
fingers facing forward, that’s really important
with your fingers splayed and your index finger
about shoulder width apart. Then from here, we’re going to do, to press the scapula, so that means we’re gonna push the shoulders down towards the feet, we’re gonna come up into a push up position and from here we’re going to retract the
scapula and then protract. So that means that my
scapula pulls back together, to touch, and then pushes apart like that. Retract, protract, now there’s few really key things to think about here that most people mess up. The first is that the elbows
must stay completely straight. So if when I do these reps, if my arms are going
like that as I come down, that’s completely incorrect
and you need to regress it. The way you regress it is
just to go on your knees. The second really big
mistake that people make is they round their back
and they arch their back, so when they go into
retract, when they go down, their back arches like this
and then when they come up, they round their back out like that. And that is a really poor understanding of the way that the scapula works and a poor understanding
of what you’re trying to achieve in this exercise. If I sit up straight like this and put my hands out, in
essence what I’m trying to do is retract the shoulders
and protract them. So if you look from behind, I’m gonna retract and protract. There’s nothing to do with any arching in my spine when I do that. So when you do the exercise, you’ve gotta work very, very hard to maintain that proper position. And we do that by clicking
into a posterior pelvic tilt, so that means I’m gonna tense
my butt and tense my abs. So that my bum and hips
go like this, okay. Once I’ve got that posterior pelvic tilt, we’re gonna depress the scapula and then we’re gonna go
through the movement. On each rep, when you go down, you just touch the scapula together, but then when you come back up, hold it for three seconds, okay. Aim for three sets of 10 reps, but only what you can do
with really good technique, for a lot of you guys, you’re only gonna be able to do maybe two or three reps. And if you can’t do it at all, just go to the knees, from here
and work it like that, okay. So the next exercise is called the whippet and we’re gonna be using one
of these gymnastics bands here. And we’ve got a link in the description so you can get yours on Amazon. And what you’re gonna do is hold the band in your hands like this and we’re gonna just
grip it with the thumb, turn the hands over, grab the band, bring it through like that. A lot of people struggle with that move, so if you can’t get that right, just wrap the band around your hands. Turn it inside out, so from here you just bring your
hands towards your body, so it goes through like that and now your hands are in this position. Now we’re gonna bring the hands up behind, and from here what I’m gonna do is pull forward into protraction as hard as I can and then
pull back into retraction. Pull forward in protraction,
and back into retraction. So what you can do is
if you just understand the idea that the shoulders are, the scapula is pulling
apart, that’s protraction. And then the scapula is pulling
together, that’s retraction. And whilst you do this, you wanna try and get the protraction and retraction to happen as the whole arm is moving. So it shouldn’t be that
the arm moves all the way and then you protract and then the arm moves all the way and then you retract, it
should happen together. The next one we’re gonna do
is called the band pull apart. And for this one I use a
little bit of a thinner band and what you’re gonna do is
grab onto the band like this and you can grab it both ways. You can grab it like this way or this way. I like to grab it in a supinated grip ’cause then it externally
rotates the shoulders and I like to train with my
shoulders in external rotation as much as possible because we all spend so much time sitting at the desk in an internally rotated position. And then from here, all I’m gonna do is pull that band apart as
hard and far as I can get it. So you can see when I do it, my scapula is retracting as I do this. Pretty simple that one, there’s not a lot to explain about it except just keep the scapula
depressed whilst you do it. And make sure that you’re focusing on pulling those shoulder
blades back together. So this exercise, this is
enough for the serratus now, now we’re working on the
rhomboids and the trapezius. So the muscles that are
involved in retracting the scapula, just to create
this beautiful movement and this, what we talked about, this central nervous
system’s ability to activate the right muscles to hold
the scapula in place. So the next one we’re gonna do is overhead band pull aparts, so from here we wanna go back to this same position here with the band, where we turn it inside out, and then from here we’re gonna start with the band up above the head, actually, for me I do
a couple of twists here with this band, I don’t
find that I get enough resistance otherwise, I twist
it two times one of my hand. Itchy nose. And now from here, you’re gonna start with
the thumbs facing forward and then we’re gonna pull the scapula down and bring the band down behind the back so the thumbs are facing up. Back to the start, that’s
still too easy for me, so I’m gonna give it another
twist, whoops. Like that. So from here, that’s a bit better. So you can see my thumbs are
facing forward at the top. Pulling down and if have a look at what’s going on in the shoulder blade. So this is training internal
and external rotation of the shoulder blade, which again, it’s just all about strengthening the central nervous system’s ability to activate the muscles that control the scapula and hold it
into its correct position. The last one we’re gonna do
is called the wall slide. So from here, what I’m doing is I’m actually sucking my stomach in to push my lower back against the wall. The closer my feet are to the wall, the harder it is and I’m gonna
put my head against the wall, so basically my whole spine’s on the wall. From here, I’m gonna press
my wrists against the wall and press my forearms against the wall and then I’m gonna come
up as high as I can go whilst keeping my lower back on the wall, it gets quite hard up here. Most of you won’t be able to
go to where I’m going there. And then I’m gonna come
all the way back down, keeping my lower back on the wall, keeping my wrists on the wall, so I could go lower than that. But my wrists come off the wall, so that’s not what I’m looking for. My lower back comes off the wall. So we’re gonna come back up, as high as you can go. And then come back down, all the way as far as your can go, keeping
the wrists on the wall. Keeping the forearms on the wall, when you get to that point
where you can’t go lower unless everything comes off the wall, that’s where you stop. Now a lot of you guys are not going to be able to do this, you going to, you won’t even be able to get your hands on the wall at all at the start. Now that’s okay, we’re going to, just put the thumbs on the wall like this, turn your hands that
way and now you’re gonna do exactly the same movement, except the only focus is to
keep the thumbs on the wall whilst you’re doing, sorry, you’re still focused on the lower back being pushed against the wall and your head against the wall, but as far as the arms go, you’re only focusing on the
thumbs being on the wall. Now if that’s you, if you can’t get there, we’re about to make a video
for overhead mobility, for the ability to be able
to get your arms overhead and I highly recommend that you watch that because you really need that. And if you wanna go even a step further, download our Flexibility Blueprint because if you can’t get your arms on the wall like I am here then you’ve got some major, major mobility
and flexibility issues and The Flexibility Blueprint is gonna give you all the
answers that you need for that. And there’s a program as well that you can get if
you’re interested in it which is highly effective in
increasing shoulder mobility. So the reason why scapular winging happens is it’s called, it’s
actually called paralysis to the serratus anterior and it’s caused by a disfunction of the
long thoracic nerve. So there’s many reasons
why this can happen. For a lot of people it can be trauma, you might have been in an
accident that caused trauma that is preventing this nerve from getting the feedback that it needs or getting the stimulus
that it needs from the brain to be able to control
the serratus properly. And keep the scapula in place. But what’s more common is
it’s just an under-use thing. There is no information being communicated properly from the brain and the serratus anterior ends
up just becoming paralyzed and it just can’t do its job. So if you’re in the first category, if you’ve had trauma, you may
need to go and see a doctor or surgeon and figure out
what your options are there. But if you’re in the second category which is the great many of you that are gonna be watching this video, then the work that’s we’ve just shown you is absolutely going to get
you started on your journey. And what do I mean by get you started? It’s really about retraining that nerve to be able to control
the serratus properly to do its job and you need to understand that when you do these exercises, these are not strength training exercises, like you could do these everyday, this is not the kind of a workout where your muscles would
be fatigued from this. The nervous system’ll get fatigued, but that’s okay, it’ll
recover within a day because it’s a very low
load on the nervous system. And what you’re really trying to do, you’re looking for absolute,
perfect quality reps. So you’re got to, if you
can’t do the quality reps on the progression that I showed you you need to regress it, or with the bands it’s simple as just getting
a smaller, thinner band. And once you get strong enough, once you develop that
initial level of awareness, where you can control
these movements really well and it’s looking really good, the next thing that you
need to do is to progress to the big bang for your buck
strength training movements. The time is gonna come when you need to start doing bench press, bent over row, deadlifts,
snatch grip deadlifts, pull ups, chest to bar pulls ups, even at a higher level,
work on gymnastics rings, planches, planche push
ups, things like that. But the bigger bang for your buck strength movements are where this is all going to come together. So if we bring this whole
thing in for a landing, the reason why we showed
you these multiple different exercises, only the whippet and the scapula push ups,
the first two exercises here that we’ve shown you, they’re the only ones that directly train the serratus anterior. But all the other exercises are there to create synergy and just
to create your body’s, strengthen the central
nervous system’s ability to control all of the muscles that connect to the scapula, or at least the majority of them, the major ones that
we’re looking for here. And by doing that, you will start to reduce that winging, so you’ll start to be able to control your body better, or it’ll just happen on its own. And then you’re gonna come to the point where you need to move on from this and progress to the big bang for your buck strength training exercises. And if you need any help with that, we have a ton of videos, we’re gonna link a bunch
of them here for you where you can learn how to do these big strength training movements. Hey, before we go, I just wanna give a bit shout out to Ahmed Mansoor for requesting this
video, thanks a lot bro, it’s a pleasure to make
these videos for you and if anyone else out
there who’s watched this and enjoyed it has your own questions, if you want anything for
us to make videos on, just leave a comment and we
will definitely get around to it and make those videos for you so that we can teach you guys how to fix these problems in your body. Now if you haven’t done so already, make sure you download
our Flexibility Blueprint. I guarantee you that it
is going to be a massive part of your development
getting more flexible, and that’s why we’ve
created this free blueprint so that you can learn from us and from all of the decades of experience that we’ve had in getting flexible. Now, if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to our channel, if you like these videos
and you wanna see more, make sure you click on that bell so you get the notifications and then you’ll become part of our tribe, you can get more movement videos, more nutrition videos,
more motivation videos, we do them weekly and until
next time, see ya later. (upbeat music) So the next one we’re gonna do is called a band pull a, pull apart, band pull a… You can get a…(groans). All right. The nerve is…, what’s the nerve called? – [Man] Long thoracic…

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  1. Subscribed last week to you and your content is just insane ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป thanks for educating and supporting our fitness journals

  2. Iโ€™ve had this for years, been to doctors etc. I think the exercises will help but I donโ€™t think there is a permanent solution. Iโ€™m going to try anyway hope my silly scapula nerves learn how to keep my wings away.
    Good video new sub!

  3. #Unity Gym thanks a lot. These are absolutely new exercises for me except the scapulars push-ups.
    As last question my physiotherapist said that it could never be back but i am gonna work on it, because I believe in my body. And I really hope to come one day visit you in the Unity Gym and do some calisthenics together.

  4. When you go down (retract) in the scapular push up, your shoulderblades arent compressed anymore, is that the rightway?

  5. i am suffering for forward head posture and this left scapula winging…..I have a full job that requires me to hold tons of different boxes on my left hand and stock them with my right hand…..doing PT for 2 years now and it is not getting better….I don't know what else to do…Shoulder surgery only helped with impingement but shoulder weakness and rotator cuff pain still there…

  6. I have rounded shoulder and winging scapula and uneven shoulders. Pls help me to fix all this problem together….

  7. It weird how the body works. Sometimes I stretch as a reflex to the discomfort and these movements are exactly what I do. I'll get a stretch band. Thanks

  8. I have just subscribed!

    What a great, detailed video. You are well-spoken!

    I was wondering if any of these exercises would help with kyphosis to some extent, and whether you could please make a video on kyphosis?

  9. I hv scapula winging by birth .. can i fix this… and is it fine working out with scapula or it will have an effect on it

  10. Hi Rad,
    Bought your felxibility routine recently, loving it and getting good resuts. I have winged scap and have been working on it for a year and reduced it by about half. Ive been working more on strength though. I Do scap pushups and band pull apparts ect till im sore and need days to recover. Keen to try you plan. How often should i do these exercises? And your sugesting i shouldnt be going hard to failure?

  11. My left scapula sticks out and the surrounding muscles are tight. When I retract it sticks out more. Causing major imbalances. Bad walking posture

  12. Great video, and thank you for addressing this issue. I have a question though: I have only left side scapular winging, which creates this weird sensation to want to flex it constantly with my left trapezius muscle. It has created a bad muscle imbalance from my left side of my back, which effects my left trap, left lat, left arm, and left oblique slowly being bigger and stronger then my right side. Even my left chest muscles are tight and thicker than my right. Its absolutely frustrating. Please give me some guidance on how to fix this. I have been trying only unilateral exercises to try and balance the muscles, but it seems to not be solving the underlining issue…

  13. hey man, two questions, how long does it take to do one workout and for how long should i be doing this.

  14. Thank you for the video, I am studying to be a registered massage therapist, and this is very helpful.

  15. Any idea if this would help kyphosis? my issue is genetic and I was wondering what exercises would actually make my back look normal. Ive tried a lot of stretches and strengthening exercises and nothing seems to better the way my back looks. Thanks in advance

  16. This video has been really helpful. I've been suffering from Scapular Winging on my right shoulder blade which has led to a lopsided right shoulder. Although I understand that this is something that can't be fixed overnight, I have a few queries.

    How often should I be doing these exercises in a week? Due to the imbalances that come with this condition, would weight training help or deter my progress? I work out 3 times a week at the gym for 90 minutes of a Full Body Split. I have seen some improvement in strength and mobility but it feels like an uphill battle due to my imbalances.

    Some clarity on this issue would really help me out. Thanks!!

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